Geoffrey Holder

On August 1, 1930, a baby boy, Geoffrey Lamont, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  His parents, Arthur and Louise (née de Frense) Holder, immigrated to the country’s capital city from Barbados.  He was the couple’s youngest of their five children, who included Jean, Marjorie, Arthur and Kenneth.   Born into their middle-class family, Geoffrey was educated at Tranquility School and Queen’s Royal College, a premier secondary school.

As a small boy, Geoffrey was mentored by his older brother, Arthur, who was affectionately known as “Boscoe”, his nickname from childhood.  Boscoe taught him many skills such as painting and dancing.  At sixteen years old, Boscoe founded his own dance troupe, The Holder Dancing Company, and even encouraged Geoffrey to join it.  Geoffrey made his debut for his brother’s dance company when he was only seven years old. 

The influence that Boscoe, who was nine years older, had on his younger brother would forever impact Geoffrey.  Boscoe became successful as a choreographer, dancer, designer, musician and painter; Geoffrey would also follow to be successful in those professions.  Boscoe and, later, Geoffrey gained roles for radio and television.  The brothers both left Trinidad for greater opportunities to advance.  In the late 1940s, Boscoe moved to London, England.  By the 1950s and 1960s, he had popularized his native culture’s steel-pan band playing and limbo dancing in Britain and is credited with bringing these art forms to the European country.  

For greater enlightenment...

Black Gods, Green Islands written by Geoffrey Holder with Tom Harshman

Geoffrey Holder: The Painter written by Geoffrey Holder

The Dancing Spirits of Trinidad: Moko Jumbies written by Geoffrey Holder with Stefan Falke and Earl Lovelace